I discovered this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte which states that “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” A number of leaders fail because they lack the flexibility to adapt in the face of changing landscapes. They allow unexpected changes to their plans to paralyse them. We all get emotionally attached to our plans that we can lose all objectivity when results and others tell us that we are heading the wrong direction. Some leaders get bogged down by failed plans that they are unable to pick up the lessons from them to create and execute new ones.
It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Our successes can make us complacent and create the illusion that we are smart, whereas posterity will prove that we were just lucky. Mistakes can, however, provoke us to reflect on what happened and how we can prevent it from happening again. The leader who succeeds is the leader who realises that there is a lesson to learn in both his mistakes and his successes. The leader who succeeds is the one who refuses to be bogged down by his mistakes or become complacent by his successes.
It is ironic that Napoleon would eventually fail to heed his own advice. He underestimated the strength of his foes and overestimated his own. His inflexibility and unwillingness to compromise would cost him the French empire and lead to his death on the Island of Saint Helena as a prisoner of the British.